Since 1959, the Johnson Space Center's Reduced-Gravity Program has provided a true three- dimensional "weightless" training and testing environment. Originally the province of astronauts in training and flights in support of missions ranging from Mercury to the Space Station, NASA's Boeing KC-135A (NASA 930) has more recently provided other NASA, government, academic and commercial users with a reduced-g experiment venue.

WE INVITE YOU to submit a proposal to fly your microgravity experiment (and yourself) on "The Weightless Wonder," also known as "The Vomit Comet."

Academy Activities

Who: The 1995 Texas SURF Summer Academy will provide access to the Reduced-Gravity Program to four three-person teams, each consisting of two Texas university graduate or senior-level undergraduate students ("SURFers") and a supervising professor.

When and Where: The Academy begins with your decision to compete and ends with your receipt of class credit. During a two-week period in July 1995, the Academy will convene at Ellington Field, Texas, which is the home of Johnson Space Center's Reduced-Gravity Program. This is what you'll be doing at Ellington:

7/10 Mon
Arrival and check-in; Academy orientation.

7/11 Tue
Pre-flight training Day 1.

7/12 Wed
Pre-flight training Day 2; test equipment buildup and checkout.

7/13 Thu
Test equipment buildup and checkout.

7/14 Fri
Test equipment buildup and checkout.

7/15 Sat
Preparation of experiment packages for installation on aircraft; enjoy (self-directed) excursions to Space Center Houston, the beach, and other features of metropolitan Houston.

7/16 Sun
Preparation of experiment packages for installation on aircraft; enjoy (self-directed) excursions to Space Center Houston, the beach, and other features of metropolitan Houston.

7/17 Mon
Test Readiness Review (TRR) of all test articles; installation of experiment packages on aircraft.

7/18 Tue
Flight Day 1: pre-flight briefing; flight suits and boots issued; one 2-3 hour flight; adjust test articles as needed; daily post-flight debriefing and review.

7/19 Wed
Flight Day 2: one 2-3 hour flight; adjust test articles as needed; daily post-flight debriefing and review.

7/20 Thur
Flight Day 3: one 2-3 hour flight; adjust test articles as needed; daily post-flight debriefing and review.

7/21 Fri
Flight Day 4: one 2-3 hour flight; test equipment downloading andremoval; daily post-flight debriefing and review; Ellington wrap-up.

What: There will be one flight each of the four flight days. During each flight, which will last an average two to three hours, you will fly 30 to 50 parabolic maneuvers in NASA 930. Depending on the actual trajectory flown, the aircraft will provide the following reduced gravity conditions for you and your experiment:

Approximately 15 seconds --- Negative-g (to -0.1g)
Approximately 25 seconds --- Zero-g
Approximately 30 seconds --- Lunar-g
Approximately 40 seconds --- Martian-g

You will also experience 1.8-g pull-up and 1.8-g pull-out conditions in each reduced-g maneuver.

You will conduct your experiment within NASA 930's 60-foot foam-padded "test area." The test area is equipped with electrical power, compressed gas sources, overboard vent system and photo lights. NASA will provide photographic services for recording activities in VHS video, 16-mm movie, 35-mm slide and 8" x 10" print media, as required by individual experiments. A professional quality video will be produced from raw video footage taken during each flight.

During the 10-day Ellington Field tour, pre- and post-flight activities will take place in Building 993, which will consists of approximately 1,760 square feet of air conditioned work space and includes a briefing room equipped with tables, desks, chairs, phones, a VCR, and a video monitor. Work space is available on the ground for buildup and checkout of test equipment prior to installation on the aircraft.

After the flight, your team will prepare research reports, essays, presentations and/or other vehicles that you may specify in your proposal to articulate your Academy experience to other students (K-12 and beyond - you choose) and the public. Your team will also help prepare a professional quality video to be used as an educational and general public outreach tool.

Criteria for Selection

We are looking for the best do-able experiments and tests.

More than anything else, we want you to successfully go from design to lab to operations. By itself, being selected is no guarantee that you will actually fly!

A three-member volunteer proposal review committee will select the four participating teams based on the following criteria:

  • likelihood of producing meaningful scientific knowledge and educational content within the temporal and spatial limitations of reduced-g flight aboard NASA 930;

  • strength and creativity of strategies for transferring experience and knowledge gained to other audiences, including faculty and students in all levels of education as well as the general public;

  • willingness and ability to comply with the Reduced-Gravity Program's User Guide (available upon request, see contact information below), including pre-flight physicals and training, and other conditions required by NASA to address safety and liability issues; and,

  • commitment of the proposing team's home institution to provide academic credit to each SURFer, grant release time to the supervising faculty member, and arrange for funding to cover pre-flight physical examinations and Academy-related travel costs.

Your activities should not involve human test subjects, animals, biological tests or any other activity which would trigger the JSC Human Research Policy and Procedures Committee (HRPPC) protocol.

Flight team members must be at least 18 years old; however, a younger ground support crew member can participate if he or she provides written parental consent. Any team member under 18 must be chaperoned by an adult.

Academy Timeline and Deadlines

Letter of Intent:
We must have received your non-binding letter of intent to propose by 4:30 PM, Friday, April 28, 1995. Any legible submission, including e-mail (fort@csrv86.ae.utexas.edu) , is acceptable so long as it contains the name and mailing address of academic institution(s) and department(s) involved; name and phone number of the proposal Contact Person; name and phone number of supervising faculty member; and a brief, one-sentence description of your proposed test activity.

We must have received at the address below five (5) copies of your written proposal by 4:30 PM, Monday, May 22, 1995. It must be written in the form specified for the "Test Equipment Data Package" specified on page 12 of JSC Reduced Gravity Program User's Guide. It must also include responses to requirements set forth elsewhere in this Competition Guidelines document, including:

  • The name and academic level of each student member of your team; name and mailing address of the academic institution(s) and department(s) involved; the name and phone number of your proposal Contact Person; the name and phone number of your supervising faculty member; a short (up to 300 words) abstract of your proposal; and proof that all members of your proposed Flight Team are 18 or older.

  • A statement, signed by an authorized officer of your school, that you will receive academic credit for successfully completing the 1995 Texas SURF Summer Academy.

  • A statement, signed by you, that you are aware that your personal life or accident insurance may not provide coverage while aboard NASA 930. (See page 5 of the JSC Reduced Gravity Program User's Guide.)

Teams Announced:
We will announce the four Academy teams on Friday, June 2, 1995.

Your test equipment must be built and operational by Friday, June 9, 1995. (Expect a site visit!)

Preflight Physicals:
Each member of your Flight Team must submit the results of his/her pre-flight physical on Form 8500-8 by 4:30 PM, Friday, June 23, 1995.

Final Deliverables:
In order for you to receive class credit for the Academy, we must receive your final deliverables by 4:30 PM, Friday, September 15, 1995.

Additional information about the 1995 Texas SURF Summer Academy can be obtained from Burke Fort, Academy Program Director, by:

Calling ... 800/248-8742 (outside Austin) or 471-3583 (in Austin)

Faxing ... 512/471-3585

E-mailing ...fort@csrv86.ae.utexas.edu

or Writing ...

Mr. Burke O. Fort
ATTN: 1995 Texas SURF Summer Academy
Center for Space Research
The University of Texas at Austin
2901 North IH-35, Suite 300
Austin, Texas 78722


Competition Guidelines (Text only)
Competition Guidelines (Word for Macintosh 5.1)
Competition Guidelines (Word for Windows 2.0)


Wednesday, 31-Dec-1969 18:00:00 CST